How to Protect Yourself from Spoofing Phone Scams

Thursday, April 22, 2021
   
Phone with Unknown call on screen

Your phone rings. The Caller ID shows that it's not someone in your address book, but it's coming from a local number. You have two options: accept the call and hope it's not a scammer, or play it safe and hit decline.

If you're sending all incoming calls to voicemail because of scammers, unfortunately, you're not alone. It seems like every day more and more calls are recorded messages trying to sell you something or scammers trying to steal your information.

This scam technique is called spoofing. Scammers use neighbor spoofing so it appears that an incoming call is coming from a local number, or spoof a number from a company or that you may already know and trust. If you answer, they use scam scripts to try to steal your money or valuable personal information, which can be used in fraudulent activity.

Spoofing is not new, but it is becoming more popular for phone scammers. You may not be able to tell right away if an incoming call is spoofed, but there are some tips to keep your money and your information secure.

  • Don't answer calls from unknown numbers. If you answer such a call, hang up immediately.
  • If you answer the phone and the caller - or a recording - asks you to hit a button to stop getting the calls, just hang up. Scammers often use this trick to identify potential targets.
  • Do not respond to any questions, especially those that can be answered with "Yes" or "No."
  • Never give out personal information — such as account numbers, Social Security numbers, mother's maiden names, passwords or other identifying information — to unexpected callers or if you are at all suspicious.
  • If you get an inquiry from someone who says they represent a company or a government agency, hang up and call the phone number on your account statement, in the phone book, or on the company's or government agency's website to verify the request. You will usually get a written notice in the mail before getting a phone call from a legitimate source, especially if the caller is asking for a payment.
  • Use caution if you are being pressured for information immediately.
  • If you have a voice mail account with your phone service, be sure to set a password for it. Some voicemail services are preset to allow access if you call in from your own phone number. A hacker could spoof your home phone number and access your voice mail if you do not set a password.
  • Talk to your phone company about call blocking tools and check into apps you can download to your mobile device. The FCC allows phone companies to block robocalls by default based on certain information. More information about robocall blocking is available at fcc.gov/robocalls.

There is some good news. The FCC is cracking down on spoofers. In March 2021, the agency issued a record $225 million fine to a telemarketer for sending illegally spoofed robocalls. 

Stay Safe with La Cap

As a reminder, La Cap will NEVER ask for your online banking credentials or debit/credit card information. If you ever receive a call from someone claiming to be with La Cap who is asking for your personal information, hang up.

Check out our Fraud Prevention Resources for more tips to help keep you safe!